New Orleans faulty levees  

redmustang91 57M  
8744 posts
9/22/2005 7:56 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

New Orleans faulty levees

Another news story to get pissed off about New Orleans and their incompetent government, from the NY Times:

September 22, 2005
Faulty Levees
The official explanation for the collapse of some of the flood walls protecting New Orleans has been that Hurricane Katrina simply overwhelmed the system. But reports yesterday in both The Washington Post and The New York Times suggested that Katrina might not have been as powerful as advertised and that the real culprit was the system itself - flood walls so poorly constructed that they were easily breached.

This points a finger at either the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversaw the design and construction of the flood walls, or Congress, which appears to have underfinanced the projects, or both.

Corps officials have said all along that the system was not designed to protect the city from hurricanes larger than Category 3, and corps spokesmen continue to insist that Katrina was a Category 4 hurricane when it hit the Gulf Coast. But federal meteorologists now say that New Orleans did not get the full brunt of the storm, whose strongest winds passed dozens of miles east of the city. What's more, sustained winds over Lake Ponchartrain reached only 95 miles per hour, even less than the winds of 111 to 130 miles per hour in a Category 3 storm.

Other research, meanwhile, has turned up serious weaknesses in the thinner and less stable flood walls built along the city's canal system beginning in the 1960's. The failure of these walls - particularly along 17th Street and London Avenue - led to much of the devastation.

Here again the research seems to contradict the official version, which is that extraordinary surges reached the top of or even "overtopped" the flood walls, causing some sections to collapse. Yet Louisiana State University researchers doubt the water ever got that high. Even if it had, they argue, it would have been contained by properly constructed flood walls - essentially concrete slabs that resemble the sound barriers found beside highways.

A detailed analysis of the storm and of the city's defenses will take months. It is not clear, for instance, whether the flood walls' weaknesses were the result of faulty engineering and shoddy workmanship on the corps' part or whether they resulted from Congress's unwillingness over the years to provide enough money and leadership to do the job properly. What is clear is that whatever investigation Congress undertakes, either on its own or with outside counsel, it must meet high standards of diligence and spare no one, including those in Congress.

greatdate73 43M

9/22/2005 8:50 am

The investigation will be a whitewash. Sen Clinton proposed an independant investigation into Katrina, Similar to the 911 commission. It was voted down along party lines. The Republican congress then proposed a Katrina commission that will be predominantly Republican. This is the commission that will investigate what went wrong in the response to Katrina. Since there is plenty of blame to go around, the commission will spin the mistakes of the Republican majority and place the majority of the blame on the Mayor of New Orleans, and the Governor of Louisianna. Both Democrats. In the midst of their spin, they will also find a way to blame Bill Clinton. The investigation will focus on the fact that the levy system failed, and not the Federal response. They will not mention the fact that The 5 of the top 8 oficials at FEMA have no disaster management experience. The fact that FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers have had significantly reduced budgets under the current administration, primarily to pay for the war in Iraq, and the fact that FEMA was moved from a cabinet level position to a minor agency under the Dept. of Homeland Security.

The Republicans have already started their spin. They have placed Carl Rove in charge of the Federal response to Katrina. Carl Rove has no experience in managing a federal response to anything, He is chief Political Advisor to the president. His job is to provide spin.

At best you can expect that the only thing deeper than the water in New Orleans will be the Bullshit!

wyvernrose 38F
3895 posts
9/22/2005 8:57 am

I told you so I told you so

it was lack of construction standards for a hurricane zone

ahhhhhhhhhh well at least we aussies know better

you can tell how poorly constructed everything was just by the state of the rubble and materials shown on the news ...

you need to bring in some serious building standards not just for the levies


redmustang91 57M  
8605 posts
9/22/2005 10:31 am

New Orleans is corrupt and substandard in everything, why should the levees be any different?

MissAnnThrope 56F
11488 posts
9/22/2005 11:38 am

The levees were only 90% completed according to the Army Corps of Engineers website. Bush kept slashing funding for the project and in the case of funding for 2005, Congress increased it by nearly $2M.

However, this is from factcheck dot org, who don't care about party lines:

By 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year…forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze.

This is from the Army Corps of Engineers page:

PROJECT STATUS/SCHEDULE. Work is about 90 percent complete in the Chalmette area and includes an additional levee lift and floodwall capping. Work in Orleans Parish is about 90 percent complete. The major remaining construction is the parallel protection along the London Avenue and Orleans Avenue canals. Completion of this work is scheduled by 2010. Jefferson Parish work is 70 percent complete. The remaining work in Jefferson consists of at least two more lakefront levee enlargements, and a flood proofed bridge at Hammond Highway over the 17th Street Canal. Completion is scheduled by 2010. The work in St. Charles Parish is 60 percent complete, and the protection system is not yet closed. Closure of the last two gaps should be completed by September 2005. Overall project completion is scheduled for 2015.

FY 2005 BUDGET/EFFORT. The President’s budget for fiscal year 2005 was $3.9 million. Congress increased it to $5.5 million. This was insufficient to fund new construction contracts. Engineering design, and construction supervision and inspection efforts are also included. Seven contracts are being delayed due to lack funds. They include the floodgate at the Canadian National Railroad and the Gulf South Floodwall and Reach 2A and 2B levee enlargement, all in St. Charles Parish; Reach 1 and Reach 4 Levee Enlargements in Jefferson Parish; Pump Station No. 3 Fronting Protection, Robert E. Lee Bridge replacement and the New Orleans East Back Levee enlargement, all in Orleans Parish; and the Bienvenu to Dupre Levee Enlargement in St. Bernard Parish. The Pontchartrain Levee District is providing funds to construct the Gulf South Pipeline floodwall in St. Charles Parish. The East Jefferson Levee District is providing funds to construct the Reach 1 and Reach 4 levee enlargements in Jefferson Parish. Louis Armstrong International Airport is funding the Canadian National Railroad floodgate as part of the rehabilitation of the east-west runway.

Notice, it says the funding was too low to hire contractors. So now, screw the Army Corps of Engineers! We're going to bring in Halliburton! Let's let our blind trusts grow!

I swear, this administration makes the Nixon administration look good.

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